Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding [September 16, 2014]   [open pdf - 489KB]

"Child welfare services are intended to prevent the abuse or neglect of children; ensure that children have safe, permanent homes; and promote the well-being of children and their families. As the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted, states bear the primary responsibility for ensuring the welfare of children and their families. In recent years, Congress has appropriated just above or below $8 billion in federal support dedicated to child welfare purposes. […] Final FY2014 child welfare funding was appropriated as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76). Because that act maintained discretionary funding at the statutory limit provided for in the recent Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2013 (P.L. 113-67), FY2014 funding for child welfare programs that receive discretionary funding was not affected by sequestration. While most federal child welfare programs receive discretionary funding, the largest amount of federal funding is provided to child welfare programs through mandatory funding authorized under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. Nearly all of that funding (related to foster care, adoption assistance, kinship guardianship assistance, and services to youth aging out of foster care) is statutorily exempted from sequestration in every year. Finally, a few child welfare programs receive mandatory funding and may be subject to sequestration; principally this includes the mandatory funding provided for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program. For FY2014, the final funding level for these nonexempt mandatory child welfare programs was reduced from their otherwise appropriated level by 7.2%."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43458
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